Module 7 e journal entry: Can teachers be replaced by humanoids in the classroom?

robot-teacher_1599830iComputers have significantly changed the landscape of the world in terms of doing business and communication, delivering health care and even educating people.  Because of its efficiency and reliability, business decisions can now be made in a few days which normally would take months of studies. In business, time is money; opportunity does not present itself twice so decisions have to be made in real time. Spread sheets and data bases in financial institutions have been so effective in decision making. In hospitals, robots are already used in various surgery procedures and have improved the health conditions of many patients.  High performing computers power up diagnostic machines like MRIs, CT scans, 3D sonograms that help doctors detect patients’ condition and aid them in designing a good treatment plan.  In the education industry, computers have become ordinary equipment. PCs, laptops, Tablets and notebooks capable of accessing the internet via 3G or wifi have become ubiquitous that almost everyone has them. The web has become everybody’s virtual library and university.

Movies like Artificial Intelligence by Steven Spielberg and I-Robot starring Will Smith were block buster films that have made millions by portraying robots like human beings. They are called humanoids.  Although, robots have been in the manufacturing industry for a long time producing car parts and other mass produced electronic parts and gadgets, they do not necessarily look like human beings.  I think that robots have evolved into humanoids because man has a dire need to relate and interact.  We are all social beings.

If computer powered robots are so effective and efficient, making them more dependable and predictable in terms of behavior since they can be programmed, can’t they replace teachers in classrooms?  I remember years back when some robots were programmed toteach English language to students in South Korea.  Although I agree that we cannot beat them at information storage and retrieval, they will still be dependent on us in terms of encoding information. As they say, garbage in,  garbage out. Whatever is your input defines your output. Computers cannot initiate encoding for themselves, at least for now as far as I know. But we do not hold the future.

Human beings learning and thought process is so complex that even the best artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and designers have yet to unlock the answers. This could be their ultimate goal and achievement – for robots to intellectually respond like humans. Humanoids do not have the understanding of the schema and concepts the human mind is capable of. It can only do what it has been programmed to do in a single dimension. It cannot create new ideas from its own thoughts and does not understand feelings. It may define it but not understand it. I remember in the movie Bicentennial Man(1999) starring Robin Williams who acted as a humanoid, the robot observed the girl cry and he asked what kind of emotion she was exhibiting. And he said that shedding tears is something he won’t be able to experience.

Cover of

Cover of Bicentennial Man

Unlike humans, robots do not have deep motivations and are not concerned with self-efficacy, self-worth. Therefore they too cannot be models for social learning and development. They are not capable of reflecting and choosing the kind of behavior that is appropriate based on values and feelings that human beings have.  They can only function within the limits of its program.  In class, an effective teacher needs to understand and take into consideration the dynamic mix of his students’ cognitive as well as affective domains, their learning styles, their internal and external motivating factors, their learning abilities and thought processes. I think in the future, humanoids may be very powerful tools to aid in the education process but they can never replace their human counterparts in terms of social learning and development.

Today however, technology has not yet come up with a robot that can replace the human teacher. But who knows? Only time can tell. As Albert Einstein says, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”  I am just glad that today I am not taught by a robot to have faith, to continue to hope and to always love.

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Module 6 e-journal entry: SELF REGULATION FOR SELF MASTERY

“The goal of education, in general, and cognitive behavior modification, in particular, is to encourage self-regulation in students” (Sternberg and Williams, 2009)

This statement has captured my attention and made me reflect.  We have been talking about self regulation since module 1 in EDS103 and I believe that topics in the succeeding modules have a share of relevance to it as well. We have encountered it so many times in the process; its value cannot be over emphasized. I believe that the bottom line of self-regulation is achieving self-mastery; knowing and taking control of our own strengths and weaknesses. It is only when we know our strengths that we can harness our true potentials and it is only when we are aware of our weaknesses that we understand ourselves better. We cannot improve what we do not understand. Being able to identify and understand one’s weaknesses is in fact already a strength in itself and the beginning of improvement (behavior modification).

The role of education is to lead us towards the process of self-mastery through self-regulation. As we know self-regulation is  directing one’s self, it is about setting goals, selecting strategies to attain those goals, monitoring progress, restructuring if the goals are not being met, using time efficiently, self-evaluating the methods selected, and adapting future methods based on what was learned (Maryellen Weimer, PhD in Teaching and Learning).  The discipline brought about by the process of self-regulation helps us master our own selves.

In the quest of self-mastery one needs to have positive role models that will serve as his north star for development. Social Cognitive Theory tells us that we learn by observing and interacting with people. We choose our life models based on how we value them and/or our personal  our values system. We accomplish this, according to Bandura, by observing (Attention), remembering (Retention), doing (Reproduction) and sustaining the behavior (Motivation). I think we have the ability to choose the kind of character we want to live. We have total control of reproduction in social cognitive theory. Therefore, to better, to do good and to excel are conscious choices we have to reproduce and live by.  How and to what level we will bring it will be dependent on our motivation.

Sources:

What it Means to be a Self-Regulated Learnerhttp://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/what-it-means-to-be-a-self-regulated-learner/

Lou Juachon, Ph.D. / UPOU EDS103 Theories of Learning

Module 2 e-journal entry: Know Your Learning Style

What’s Your Learning Style? The Results

Your Scores:

  • Auditory: 30%
  • Visual: 55%
  • Tactile: 15%

Learning Styles Results


Results for: Mark AciertoACT              X                                    REF 

11  9   7   5   3   1   1   3   5   7   9   11

<– –>

SEN                  X                                INT

11  9   7   5   3   1   1   3   5   7   9   11

<– –>

VIS  X                                                VRB

11  9   7   5   3   1   1   3   5   7   9   11

<– –>

SEQ                                  X                GLO

11  9   7   5   3   1   1   3   5   7   9   11

<– –>

 

This is wonderful!

I have tried some of the learning style surveys just for kicks (What’s your learning style? By education planner.org & Index of learning styles questionnaires by Barbara Solomon, et.al )  and I have reaffirmed that I am a visual learner. I never thought though that my being a visual learner was that strong until I tried answering the questionnaires in the index of learning styles which indicated 11, the highest level.  I have always known that I appreciate pictures more than words as a child. I can still remember how my notebooks were filled with my scribbles and drawings that captured my interests. As a kid, I used to draw a variety of things  from cars, animals, stick people and landscapes.  I remember doing my own comic strips too.

In college, I remember that my ability to draw helped me a lot in my subjects such as anatomy and physiology.  My illustrations were always fresh in my mind as compared to the plain facts I needed to memorize for recall purposes.

I find it really entertaining to learn more nowadays because of the availability of the various multi-media materials that appeal to our senses.  In the past when computer technology was not that highly developed yet, a person’s best friend was the library. Hmm, I think I am exposing my age too much here.  Perhaps techno savvy citizens here might find that statement difficult to relate to. For to them the word library may be just synonymous to personal sleeping space.  I wonder if young people still go to the library for research. Today, everything you need to know is just a click away.

I have further realized through the survey that I am a global learner.  I like to approach things in a macro perspective first; looking at the bigger picture before going into the details.  It helps me rationalize my action plan on how to approach the process of learning.  When reading a book, I tend to scan the table of contents first.  At times, I even try to read the last part first before I actually indulge in reading it from the beginning. Does that make me weird or something?   But that’s just the way it works for me.

There is an old cliché that goes “different strokes for different folks”.  Or is it the other way around? We all have different learning styles. And as teachers or would be teachers, I believe that it is very important to understand that our students also have their own preference in terms of learning which makes them effective.  It is important that we acknowledge and respect that.  Knowing our students’ learning styles makes us more equipped and effective teachers.

Sources:

Index of Learning Style Questionnaire.http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html

Education Planner.Org. http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-quiz.shtml?event=results&A=6&V=11&T=3

Module 1 e-journal entry: Metacognition and Self-regulation

Metacognition and Self-regulation

  1.   What is metacognition? 

Metacognition  is   the awareness and understanding of  one’s thinking and cognitive processes; thinking about thinking (Dictionary.com’s 21st Century Lexicon)

It is a deeper understanding of our own unique learning process.

 (a) Discuss how the following beliefs deter learning.
(b) Describe beliefs that contrast with each
and how such can enhance learning:

According to Dr.Steven Chew of Samford University, the following are beliefs that make us fail as learners:

  • Learning is fast

True learning requires deep processing (elaboration of concepts, distinctiveness, personal relation to experience and application) and takes time. Memorizing and just merely going through the bits and pieces of information only entail shallow processing.

  • Knowledge is composed of isolated facts

Shallow processing only involves isolated facts that are, most of the time, merely memorized pieces of information. Isolated facts become meaningless if they are not coherently tied together by concepts and prior knowledge.  Knowledge requires deeper learning and understanding, comprehension and meaningful connections.

  • Intelligence is an inborn trait

I believe that some people are gifted, born with extraordinary intelligence. They are able to learn faster than others. They have the ability to think and process information and assimilate in a very short time. That is why some are said to have photographic memories.

However, I think that intelligence is not static. It is not a case of either you have it or not. It is both nature and nurture. All of us are born with a degree of intelligence, perhaps some are just better than others but it does not mean that we cannot learn. To me, the only difference between a person with superb Intelligence Quotient and an average learner (ave.IQ) is time. The former can learn a material, perhaps, in single reading in about thirty minutes. While the later average person still be able to learn the same material, perhaps, by reading and re-reading and taking notes in about forty-five or more minutes. Bottom line is that they both are able to learn and have intelligence. The only difference is their time to learn.

Intelligence therefore can be improved, developed and nurtured.

  • “I’m really good at multi-tasking”

According to Dr. Chew, we are not designed to multi-task.  However, many times we make ourselves believe that we can do several things at the same time. Truth to this is that we are able to do it at the expense of the other task we have to perform such as concentrating or focusing on learning.

To illustrate this, I think multi-tasking is like trying to look at things all at the same time  through a single lens. For those who are into photography, we all know that focusing on a subject well (sharper photos) makes the rest of the objects around it look out of focus or blurry (depth of field)

2.    What is self-regulation? Why is self-regulation (critically) important in distance education?

Self-regulation  to my understanding is having the discipline to learn in the best way one can by taking into consideration the topics, concepts, including time frame available to the learner. It is effectively monitoring one’s personal progress vis-à-vis his set learning goals and objectives.

This is critically important to DE because the program requires you to accomplish set of learning goals and objectives in a time frame. One has to manage his resources including time to meet the learning demands.

3.    How shall I study to optimize learning in this course?

I think the greatest challenge here is managing one’s time. And again, as I have learned in the previous readings, this requires discipline.  The program and the FIC though have efficiently laid down set the learning parameters by providing schedules, course outline, materials to read  and guidelines on how one’s learning will be measured. Utilizing all this information will be necessary to optimize learning.

I think that I am a visual learner and as such I enjoy learning while watching. During my clinical years in dentistry we engage a learning process called – Tell, show, do, which is like learning through mentoring. In the case of DE I believe that this still can be done by watching videos online.

4.    In what ways will keeping a learning journal help me learn better?

Keeping a learning journal enables me to track my progress. It gives DE learners like myself  keep my learning pace vis-à-vis the time given to me by the program. The journal can, in some ways, serve as a checklist for things accomplished, thoughts and insights about what I have learned, even including the list of materials I have consulted. It can also serve as my personal notes and  contain my visual maps about the deep learning processes I have experienced through the various assigned readings.

Sources:

Eidetic Memory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eidetic_memory

Recall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recall_(memory)

Metacognition for Self-Regulated Learning in a Dynamic Environment. http://www.cs.umd.edu/~darsana/papers/SASO-09.pdf

On Learning and Maturation

  1. 1.     What events constitute learning and what events do not? As a learner yourself, what are your ideas about learning?

According to schunk (2012), is an enduring change in behavior, or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which results from practice or other forms of experience.

Furthermore, the author  says that the following constitute learning:

  • Change
  • Endurance over time
  • Consequence of experience

Learning is personal change in behavior and cannot be forced to anyone. Biological changes brought about maturity, although considered as lasting change over time, cannot constitute learning.

For me, learning is the acquisition of knowledge and skills to be able to perform specific tasks necessary to accomplish set of goals. It could take place anywhere and anytime whether formally or informally throughout life. In fact many times it has been said that life is a continuous learning process and that the only time we stop learning is when we cease to live.

  1. 2.      Look up the difference between maturation and learning and the role of maturation in learning.  Why should teachers be aware about the relationship between maturation and learning?  Cite personal experiences or observations where the learning processes are impaired when the teacher/s fail to value this relationship.

Maturation refers to the sequential biological growth and development of an individual.(Huitt)  It takes place beyond our control – brain development and growth of body parts are some of the examples.  Learning on the other hand is acquired through our daily experiences from the environment that permanently changes our behavior.

Maturation and learning are said to be interrelated.  The learning ability of a child follows his maturation and consequent development.  As the child grows from infancy to toddler to becoming a pre-schooler, so does his cognitive and psychomotor abilities. The child learns to perform new things and tasks as he accumulates knowledge.

According to Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, children move through four different mental development. His chart shows the relationship of maturation and children’s learning ability (see linked site for chart).
Teachers must be aware of every learner’s age and maturity for him to be able to design appropriate activities for them (children/learner).  Selecting and providing the right activities engages the child and increases the chances of  knowledge acquisition.  The developmental milestones may also serve as a checklist for teachers when assessing their students’ abilities; whether they are progressing or lagging behind vis-à-vis the learner’s chronological age and maturity.

Learning is impaired when a teacher/parent/care giver of a child forces the learner to perform tasks that is not age appropriate. For example, forcing a two year old child write legibly on a piece of paper even before the child has developed his fine motor skills for writing; finger grip and the muscles of the hand have yet to be ready.  This  leads to frustration of both the child learner and the teacher who is highly expecting of the child’s performance.

Children are intelligent like their adult counterparts but they have different ways of learning (Piaget).  It is important that activities provided to them are those that suit their skills and abilities to ensure an effective learning process.

Sources:

Conditions of Learning. http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/conditions-learning.html

An Overview of Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development. http://psychology.about.com/od/behavioralpsychology/l/bl-piaget-stages.htm

Piaget’s Stages of Development: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/piagets-stages-of-development.html